My Take: What it Takes to Retain Millennials

June 4th, 2019

Decoding the millennial mindset is a complex task for HR professionals. Articles, for starters, constantly contradict each other. Just as one study comes out saying millennials are focused on money, another says money isn’t a motivating factor. One states they value their careers; another says they’d rather prioritize personal pursuits.

So, how do you retain the really great millennial employees at your company?

To start, you need to realize that millennials switch jobs often. Forbes states 91 percent of millennials expect to stay in a job for fewer than three years. This news, however, is nothing new. Twenty-somethings looking to advance their careers often have to move firms; it’s your job in HR to encourage the top millennial talent to stay with your organization.

You can do this in a number of ways. First, invest in your people. Start mentorship programs and employee-development groups. Provide structure and transparency about goals and job growth. Make sure managers adopt a coaching approach that satisfies millennials’ desire to continuously learn and grow.

Most millennials leave their positions due to lack of career opportunities. This is why it’s critical to track career progression and provide appropriate opportunities. Having a career-development flow-chart that shows paths to new jobs and the skills necessary to get there can be highly valuable. And, of course, compensate millennials fairly — especially when their value has grown. If they feel they are being paid competitively to grow their skills and career, they’ll be much more likely to stay long-term.

Finally, workplace culture can help attract and retain millennial employees. This vibrant group enjoys work, but it isn’t their entire life. They crave a good work-life balance, and the CEO must demonstrate this is a core value of the company. When possible, flexible schedules that allow for telecommuting and adjustable start/stop times can be a big plus.

Additionally, millennials want to have a little fun. An employee-centered workplace is a must. Extras like employee barbecues, fitness activities, friendly office competitions and more can make coming to work every day a joy. This equates to happy, engaged employees who aren’t going anywhere — not just millennials, but everyone.

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